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MMA heats up Australia

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UFC on FX 6 Betting Preview

Mixed martial arts stages a second-straight live broadcast network main card on Friday with UFC on FX 6 from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland, Australia. It's the first UFC event held Down Under outside of Sydney and it's a lead-in to the finals of the first Ultimate Fighter reality show specifically geared for the Australian and United Kingdom markets, billed as "Australia vs. U.K. or TUF Smashes."

"TUF Smashes" coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos will square off at UFC on FX 6, which will take place Saturday morning and early afternoon in Australia so FX can have the live broadcast on Friday night. The card also is headlined by a middleweight bout between former Bellator Middleweight Champion Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares as well as the reality show's lightweight and welterweight finalists.

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The Englishman, Pearson, (13-6) was the Season 9 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter." He spent his first six UFC fights at lightweight and went 4-2. However, "The Real Deal" moved to featherweight following a split-decision loss to Edson Barboza in August 2011. At 145, Pearson went 1-1, beating Junior Assuncao by unanimous decision at UFC 141 and losing to Cub Swanson via second-round TKO in his most recent bout in June. He returns to the 155-pound division for this card.

The Aussie, Sotiropoulos, (14-4) was a semifinalist on Season 6 of "The Ultimate Fighter." The 35-year-old enters on a two-fight losing streak. Sotiropoulos was possibly in line for a lightweight title shot before losing by unanimous decision to Dennis Siver - whom Pearson beat in March 2010 - in February 2011. Sotiropoulos then was knocked out just 59 seconds into the first round by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 132 in July 2011, so the 35-year-old's career is at a crossroads. Sotiropoulos, who has been dealing with injuries the past two years, had won eight straight before the skid.

Sotiropoulos is the -130 favorite to win in front of his countrymen, with Pearson at even money. Sotiropoulos - one of the few UFC fighters without a nickname - is taking more than 56% of the lean. He opened at -130 and reached as low as -140, with Pearson rising as far as +110. Sotiropoulos was favored in his previous four fights as well: -230 against dos Anjos and -400 versus Siver. Pearson was last an underdog at +240 against Barboza.

There was talk that the Cuban-born Lombard (31-3-1), who lives in Australia, was going to get a middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva if he beat Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 in July in Lombard's UFC debut. However, Boetsch managed a split-decision victory, ending Lombard's 20-fight winning streak. Before that, "Lightning" had dominated Bellator's middleweight division and also won belts in the Cage Fighting Championships and the Australian Fighting Championship. This will be his 23rd fight in Australia. The Boetsch bout was only the 10th fight in Lombard's career to do the distance. Twenty-two of his wins have come by KO/TKO or submission, but all three losses by decision.

The Brazilian, Palhares, (14-4) had a three-fight winning streak stopped when he lost to Alan Belcher by first-round TKO at UFC on Fox 3 in May. "Toquinho" is known as one of the submission kings in UFC as 10 of his wins have come that route (most by heel hook), and he has yet to be submitted himself. Palhares' other UFC losses were to top fighters Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson.

Lombard is currently the -210 favorite with Palhares at +170; the lines reached an extreme of -240/+190. Currently the book is exposed on Palhares as he is taking nearly 64% of the action. Lombard was a -350 favorite in his upset loss to Boetsch and hasn't been a dog since 2009. Palhares was a -220 favorite in his loss to Belcher. "Toquinho" hasn't been a dog since losing to Marquardt at +200 in September 2010 by first-round TKO.

Bet on UFC on FX 6 at Bovada Sportsbook. Raise Your Game.

  
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